An international coalition of researchers, including those from the DOE Joint Genome Institute have now isolated the Barley stripe mosaic virus resistance gene from Brachypodium distachyon. They found the single dominant gene responsible by analyzing the offspring of intercrossed disease-resistant and disease-susceptible Brachypodium. Their results were published in June in PLoSOne.
Brachypodium distachyonis a good model for studying other grasses because of its short life cycle, small genome, ease of cultivation and genetic diversity.
by Matt Lavin
BSMV infects barley, wheat, oats, and other grasses that can be used for biofuels, stunting growth and reducing production by as much as 30 percent. Growers have been looking for resistance for BSMV for over 50 years, but so far there haven’t been many considerable genetic studies on BSMV resistance.
“There have only been two other extensive mapping studies pursuing a BSMV resistance gene, both in barley, and neither resulted in the cloning of a resistance gene,” wrote Jennifer Bragg, a coauthor of the paper and postdoctoral researcher working in the Genomics and Gene Discovery unit at the United States Department of Agriculture, in an e-mail to the DOE JGI.
The study reinforces the utility of Brachypodiumas a model for the further study of virus-plant interactions that can be applied to prospective biomass feedstocks. Brachypodium was sequenced and then resequenced under the DOE JGI’s 2007 and 2009 Community Sequencing Programs (CSP), respectively. Barley is still being sequenced under a 2011 CSP project with Gary Muehlbauer, from the University of Minnesota.